from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An actual or supposed circumstance regarded as just cause for complaint.
  • n. A complaint or protestation based on such a circumstance. See Synonyms at injustice.
  • n. Indignation or resentment stemming from a feeling of having been wronged.
  • n. Obsolete The act of inflicting hardship or harm.
  • n. Obsolete The cause of hardship or harm.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Something which causes grief.
  • n. A wrong or hardship suffered, which is the grounds of a complaint.
  • n. A complaint or annoyance.
  • n. A formal complaint, especially in the context of a unionized workplace.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A cause of uneasiness and complaint; a wrong done and suffered; that which gives ground for remonstrance or resistance, as arising from injustice, tyranny, etc.; injury.
  • n. Grieving; grief; affliction.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A cause of grief or distress; a wrong inflicted by another or others; a source or occasion of annoyance or hardship.
  • n. Grief; affliction.
  • n. Discomfort; pain.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an allegation that something imposes an illegal obligation or denies some legal right or causes injustice
  • n. a complaint about a (real or imaginary) wrong that causes resentment and is grounds for action
  • n. a resentment strong enough to justify retaliation


Middle English grevaunce, from Old French grevance, from grever, to harm; see grieve.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old French grievance, from the verb grever ("to irritate; to bother; to annoy") + -ance. (Wiktionary)



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